Growing an Herb Garden
The sun is shining, most days and the temperatures are slowing warming up. Time to start the process of thinking about what things you want to grow in your garden. Several years ago, right in the center of my backyard, was a garden arch with climbing flowers enveloping it by mid-summer. I thought to myself….how can I make use of this space to a fuller extent? I decided to start growing an herb garden.
Growing an Herb Garden
I decided that my solution was a small, but basic, herb garden. My culinary skills were changing a bit to include some basic herbs, so I thought that this area would be perfect to grow some basics.
My husband had some very old, large pieces of sturdy wood that he had salvaged from an old farmhouse. We didn’t have a specific purpose for them and thought they would make wonderful raised beds around the arch. So, that’s what we did. We made several smaller areas that were perfect for having a small herb garden.
The next question was, which herbs to grow. I wanted herbs that I knew I could use in everyday cooking. If you search your local greenhouse, it seems they do carry a huge assortment. Some I have heard of, others not so much. I decided on ones that were familiar and they ended up being very easy to care for and use. Here’s what I chose that are great for any starter herb garden.
To remember your plans in future years, you may also want to consider mapping out your plan for growing an herb garden in your Gardening Journal.
Parsley: I usually only plant one plant. It grows very big and bushy throughout the season. I cut it back to use for fresh use occasionally, over the summer. Generally, I let it grow throughout the summer and cut it back in the early fall to dry it all. I dry it in my dehydrator and use it all fall and winter in soups and stews. I find that one large, bushy plant is plenty for me to get through a whole year, dried.
Basil: I like to plant a variety of types of basil. I usually buy the assorted pack from Azure Standard. (They carry this in the spring and early summer) It comes in a six-pack with six different varieties. They all have been easy to grow and some, like a purple variety, add color to the herb garden.
Basil plants like to be pruned, as the season is underway. You will get your best growth and bushiness from the plant if you trim it regularly. By the end of the season, especially if you have let it go, it will seed out and not be as nice. Trimmed back regularly, there is plenty to have fresh, for making pesto or seasoning dishes. I also like to dry the extra I cut back for using over the winter in dishes.
Chives: These fragrant and pretty herbs are one that comes back year after year in my raised bed herb garden. I have an onion and garlic variety in my herb area. They grow tall with large purple flowering heads on the end of them unless you cut them back regularly.
Chives are good to have fresh-cut throughout the summer season. They also can be dried at the end of the season. I usually do this when it’s time to cut them all the way back to go into fall.
Rosemary: I have included this in my herb garden. It is a relatively compact plant and easy to grow. I usually only plant one plant, as that has been plenty for our family. Great for using fresh, in chicken recipes. It can also be dried for later, wintertime use.
Cilantro: We are a family that likes cilantro, so I always include a small area for it. I usually plant it from seed but wait until mid to later June to plant it in my garden. Since I also grow tomatoes and peppers, I like to have the cilantro when those are ready to eat, for fresh salsa.
If I start the cilantro too early, it will have all gone to seed by the time the other vegetables are ready. I save space and add this seed in the ground a bit later, for perfect timing.
Lemon Balm and Mint: I also have a couple of areas in my herb garden where I have lemon balm or mint. These need their own area space, as they will grow crazy, coming back year after year, and can eventually take over. It is best to have them in their own space!
I use fresh leaves for tea in the summer. Sometimes I just fill a gallon jar with fresh tap water and add the mint or lemon leaves. It steeps for a fresh minty tea. They can also be dried for winter use.
–Find more uses for Mint here.
How to Start an Herb Garden
This list of herbs is very basic. I like to grow what we use, though, so it isn’t too fancy. Herb gardens are easy to tend. With the raised bed herb garden system, there are rarely weeds to contend with. I have found that a small amount of water, each day, is all it takes. They like the soil dampened and then left to dry out again.
If you haven’t tried planting herbs, I encourage you to do so. They are easy to grow and can add huge flavor to your cooking. If you choose to dry them, you will have benefits throughout the year! By following the simple steps laid out in the post above, any beginner can start the perfect herb garden for their family too.
Until next time, Julie
Julie is Merissa’s mom and she has committed to living a frugal and simple lifestyle for many decades. Julie grows her own herbs in her garden and enjoys making things at home. Especially kombucha!
Want to be more prepared for the gardening season? The Gardening and Preserving Journal was designed with the busy, but wants-to-be-organized person in mind! This wonderful spiral bound journal with a glossy laminated cover is the perfect way to keep track of your gardening plans, seeds, food inventory, recipes, and harvest.
I enjoyed this blog… you shared some good information. I have three huge chives plant… it’s the one herb I’ve been able to grow successfully. I’ve not had any luck with basil and some minimal luck with oregano. I’m going to try cilantro this year because we love salsa. Do you start all your herbs from seed or do you buy already started plants?
Many tend buy vegetables and other plant
stuff from the markets. But it is quite easy to have a herb garden and grow our own vegetables. This also ensures that we get natural and farm fresh vegetables for food. It also saves money and time to go to markets.
Thanks for sharing.
so wonderful having the herbs garden,
mine is Little also but with few lavander rosmery and one of curry,
so s nice and beautifu perfume also,
your climbing flowers are so so nice, thank you so much o share it
In smallish containers, I use coir, or dried coconut fiber or spanish moss as a mulch, to keep weeds at bay. You can find it in the craft section of your local dollar store. And I have successfully overwintered garlic chives indoors. I don’t have a sunny windowsill, but they did well sitting under an indoor light.
I’m getting serious about my herbs so thanks for all the good tips. However, I put in enough parsley for me and the butterflies. One I protect for me and the rest they eat to the ground. It comes back and I have beautiful butterflies too.
I enjoy your blog very much, I am growing a few herbs in containers. It is so wonderful when we can go outside get what we need, while we are cooking and it is a great feeling knowing There’s no pesticides in anything I am growing. I live in the hot tropic zone, so changes of weather aren’t such a problem as is insect pests. I have found alittle water, vinegar and dish washing soap in a spray bottle, takes care of ridding most pests out of my flowers. As for my herbs, there are usually no problems, my herbs are small but I don’t see a problem with them other than the big dog getting into that enclsed section of the side yard and stomping and turning the plants over after he has heard thunder.
Love your herb garden! Thanks for sharing it at The Creative Corner Link Up party at Mom Home Guide!
I love the design of your herb garden. It looks great. I also like your Herb Garden sign. Did you make it? I’ve had an herb garden for years, but gave up my space for something else this year. So I am now creating me a new one. It’s just in the beginning stages now.
My brother made the sign for our mom Julie 🙂
Love it!! I pinned a couple of your pics. I want to remember this for next summer.
Love your herb garden!
Try some German thyme and Italian sweet basil ; I usually plant rosemary, dill weed,
And mint as well in pots on back deck:) nothing like grabbing fresh herbs for salads, eggs, pesto, or mint n your sun made tea from porch:)
Note: get glass jug; old milk bottles work great
Add water, tea bags, sit in hot sun most of day, it b awesome:) add some sweetener, fresh
Mint from ur mint herb plant box, ice an ur good to go!
Carol, up on the MT:) TN …enjoy
I use metal pails about 5 gallon size for planting herbs in. I also use galvanized water troughs and plant my garden in them. I love the ease and minimal weeding. I find my chives, oregano, mint, green onions, parsley, thyme, fern leaf dill, lemon balm, lemon thyme, tarragon, and marjoram grow nice in the metal buckets. While lavender and my basil’s I love basil and plant several varieties they grow best in my galvanized water troughs..
Try as I might, I just cannot keep any of the mint family alive in pots, Basil too! In the past year I’ve had 7 different mints, and two basils die. One more is currently on its way out. I’m going to try one more time before moving on. Any tips would be welcomed!